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Don't Fall Asleep... You Will Die!
A Memoir of the Holocaust

Paul Galan

145 pages / paper / $12.95
ISBN 978-1-59738-201-6

Click here to purchase a copy.

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From the Preface:

I have done a great deal of public speaking, mostly to school children but to adult groups as well, telling the story of my survival as a young child during the Holocaust. I usually conclude my presentations with a brief summary of how my family and I built new and productive lives in this wonderful country, the United States of America. During these talks, I am often asked whether I had written down my story so that future generations could benefit from my experiences during that horrific time in history. Initially I was reluctant to consider this. Having heard so many accounts of survivors’ horrors in the slave labor camps and death camps, I never thought that my story was unusually valuable. However, I came to the realization that the survival of each Jew—and many non-Jews—was unique. Surviving was not the norm during the Holocaust. Dying was the norm, murder being the sole objective of the perpetrators of this genocide. So, I decided to add my story to the annals of "the Shoah" – the Hebrew name many people use for this tragedy. In putting my story into print, I have come to realize that this story of mine goes beyond the horror of the times. My story is also one of hope and faith in the goodness of some human beings. As my story will show, I experienced manifestations of humanity in the midst of unequivocal evil. When schoolchildren ask me about man’s inhumanity to man, a concept that they seem to take for granted, it makes me very sad, because the most valuable lesson I learned from my ordeal is that there is much kindness and compassion in most human beings. That may be considered naïve, but I’d rather be guilty of naiveté than cynicism. I’ve tried to live my life with the conviction that goodness will surface when given half a chance. That belief is now deeply ingrained in my soul, in my entire being.

As I began this journal of my life’s experiences, I realized that in addition to having been so fortunate as to survive the horrific experiences of my young life, I was equally fortunate in coming to America as a teenager. As an American I was afforded the opportunity to build a wonderful life and to enjoy an exceptionally exciting career as a filmmaker. I have chronicled this part of my life as well as my childhood because I see my life after surviving the Holocaust as evidence of the goodness that life can offer. While I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish through determination and self-confidence, I am always mindful of the roles played by luck, good friends, a loving family and the most wonderful country in the world.